20 April 2020
TPD vs e-liquids – everything you should know about Tobacco Product Directive
What is TPD?
Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is a directive covering all Member States of the European Union which places limits on the sale and merchandising of tobacco and tobacco-related products in the EU.
The products regulated by the directive include cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco products, pipe tobacco, cigars, cigarillos, smokeless tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and refill containers as well as herbal products for smoking and novel tobacco products.
The TPD aims to improve the functioning of the market for tobacco and related products while ensuring a high level of health protection for European citizens. Based on the proposal of the European Commission the Directive entered into force in the EU Member States on 20 May 2016.
Although e-cigarettes are a completely separate product category in the EU Directive, the restrictions imposed by the current legislation align e-cigarettes with tobacco products and impose the same obligations and restrictions on entrepreneurs operating within this young industry as those applied to tobacco manufacturers – mainly large international companies.
Most important TPD regulations for e-liquid industry
The TPD equates e-cigarettes with traditional tobacco products in many aspects. Among others, TPD prohibits e-cigarette sale to minors or advertising and promotion. The use of e-cigarettes in public places is also prohibited. E-cigarette use in clubs or restaurants is allowed only on the condition that there is a smoking room on the premises.
The Directive has introduced many significant changes to the tobacco market. Regarding provisions directly related to the e-cigarette industry, the most important points regulated by the Directive are:
1. TPD notification
The directive has imposed an obligation for manufacturers and importers of electronic cigarettes and e-liquids to provide the competent authorities of the Member States with detailed information on, among others, the list of all components of these products and substances released as a result of using the product;
Each e-liquid manufacturer is obliged to carry out laboratory tests (emission tests) of e-liquids that will be entered into the European market. Thanks to obligatory laboratory tests, it is possible to exclude from sale any e-cigarette products that contain prohibited substances such as carcinogens, CMR substances or heavy metals.
The test results are then forwarded to Member State authorities. This is done within the process of TPD registration of the products in the destination country of sale. Registration takes place in a system (EU-CEG) that has been created to notify e-liquids in a given Member State. EU-CEG is an EU common point for the transmission of data and information on tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and refill containers.
2. TPD-compliant packaging
Manufacturers and importers of e-cigarette products are obliged to place appropriate health warnings on the unit and collective packaging of e-cigarettes and related products. TPD Directive sets the minimum size of these warnings as well as the appearance and content of unit packaging of the products in question; Packaging and appropriate restrictions regarding e-liquids constitute a broad topic, which cannot be exhausted at one point.
3. Advertising ban
TPD does not allow any promotion of tobacco products to the end consumers. For instance, the Directive does not allow the promotion of e-cigarette products in mass media such as television, radio or the press. The details and the extent to which the ban is implemented are determined by each Member State at national level of legislation. Despite the fact that advertising of e-cigarettes and refil containers is not possible, authirities of some EU Member States promote e-cigarettes and vaping as effective replacement therapy for quitting smoking. Public Health England (PHE) states that “e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking”(link). Additionally, British NHS (National Health Service) finds e-cigarrettes as helpful stop smoking aid: “E-cigarettes aren’t completely risk free but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes. Quitting with an e-cigarette is particularly effective when combined with expert face-to-face support”(link).
Some EU countries have introduced the prohibition of the online sale of e-cigarettes and related products. For the average e-cigarette user, this means that they cannot buy their favourite e-liquid online. This record has been introduced, among others to control the age of users purchasing e-liquids. Consumers can only buy liquids in retail stores or stationary sales outlets so-called “vape shops”.
For instance in Poland Internet sales to the end consumer (i.e. to an individual customer) is illegal. The situation is different when it comes to Internet sales to business entities, i.e. registered companies – in this case, internet sales of e-cigarette products is allowed.
Some of the Chemnovatic customers register on our B2B sales platform b2b.chemnovatic.com as individual clients. Please, note that sales to individuals is not possible, Chemnovatic as a manufacturer of raw materials in the e-cigarette industry according to the TPD Directive cooperates only with business customers. Registration data on our B2B sales platform is analyzed and verified on an ongoing basis.
5. Safety and quality requirements
Introduction of safety and quality requirements for electronic cigarettes and e-liquids. E-cigarettes and e-liquids on the European market are among the most strictly supervised products compared to other markets such as the USA or the East markets.
Differences between EU countries
The TPD leaves some flexibility for certain provisions. Each European Union country has adapted its legislation to the Directive, which means that in each country the regulations concerning the marketing and introduction of e-cigarette products on the market are slightly different. Some legislators have created a law which is much more strict than the European Commission guidelines. The complexity of the regulations for each country can be overwhelming for manufacturers who want to register their liquids in several countries, here Chemnovatic comes to help.
Chemnovatic has conducted hundreds of TPD product registrations in all European countries. We are in constant contact with the Member States’ administrative authorities responsible for the supervision of e-cigarette products, so our knowledge and experience in this area is constantly being supplemented and expanded.
We offer a comprehensive service of TPD product registration and guidance throughout the whole process, as well as customer care after the process of registration. Our TPD compliance team will help you to determine whether you have any gaps and ensure that your products meet all requirements.
Chemnovatic has the necessary know-how and experience to help you to register your products in all EU countries. If you want to talk to our consultants about TPD regulation please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.